March 9: Killing incentive

The man who killed his sister in an 'honor killing' will be out soon enough to take revenge at the women who testified against him.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Killing incentive Sir - "A Tel Aviv court has sentenced an Israeli Arab man to 16 years in prison for involvement in the murder of his sister in a so-called 'honor killing,' after several female relatives took the rare step of testifying against him, according to court documents." Take off a third for good behavior, plus the year he has already spent in prison. In less than 10 years this man will be free to kill the women who dared testify against him. That will deter no one from honor killings, and encourage no one to testify. ("Man receives 16 years after mom testifies in family 'honor killing,'" March 6.) ISRAEL PICKHOLTZ Elazar Evasive distraction Sir, - As curator of the Jerusalem Dispossessed photo exhibition at University College London criticized by Jonny Paul ("London students slam anti-Israel exhibition," February 29), I would like to respond: Paul's knee-jerk response of "anti-Semitism" is an evasive distraction from crucial issues, textbook propaganda disguised as objective reporting. The photos reflect dispossession of Palestinians from their native city amid settlement expansion, separation wall and home demolitions. The Guestbook reveals viewers' appreciative comments. The article does not indicate that Paul viewed them. Instead, he focused on inaccuracies. Permission was granted. While hanging the exhibit, I spoke with janitors for official instructions as to what hours to leave it in place, and when they would move it. ActiveStills co-operative (Israeli and Palestinian photographers) states: "During our documentary work in and around Jerusalem, we've been increasingly exposed to the dark side of the City of Light. There, hundreds of thousands of people live in shadow, with identity defined by forces they cannot control, unwanted in their own homes, afraid of being expelled while just asking to live peacefully in their city. Above all we want to discuss humanity, but the sad thing is that in Jerusalem one's value as a human being is determined by ethnic group and religion. "The future of Israel cannot be built by blocking the other's potential. Any negotiation taking place while borders are aggressively being determined according to one side's interests is an illusion. Without real freedom and respect of the other's right to live in dignity, there is no basis for political negotiation." ANGELA GODFREY-GOLDSTEIN Action Advocacy Officer Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions London Jonny Paul responds: I welcome Ms. Godfrey-Goldstein's comments as I firmly believe in accountable journalism. I wrote that the exhibition contained alleged anti-Semitic and offensive material as it was the students themselves who drew that conclusion, alleging that the captions in the exhibition used the words "Israeli" and "Jew" interchangeably, and that it "was of a religious and racial nature rather than a political one." While I certainly have views on the content and message of the exhibition, I was not at liberty to share them in my article, which was a news and not an opinion piece. The university's Student Union is also taking the matter very seriously and, as my article stated, plans to bring up the issue at its next meeting and may also sanction the student society involved. According to the union, this is not only following the array of complaints about the content of the exhibition, but also because permission was not sought to put it on - Sean Clothier, a UCL Student Union official, explained to me in detail that it had not been approved by the union beforehand. Ms. Godfrey-Goldstein states that she spoke with the janitors for official instructions. I would ask: Are the janitors, who are mostly likely to be contracted-out employees, the right people to receive official instructions from? Worse off, or better? Sir, - A number of NGOs, most notably Amnesty International, have published findings that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is the "worst since 1967." The date is, presumably, meant to evoke the association of the so-called occupation. However, while Amnesty and its cohorts might have meant the figure to be critical of Israel's actions, an extra minute of thought leads to a very different conclusion. The residents of Gaza were actually better off in the years between 1967 and now, compared to before 1967! In other words, for those who can read between the lines and analyze figures, they were better off under Israeli control than either before or after - now that Israel has pulled out. I guess it simply took another nearly two years for the humanitarian situation to decline from its highs under "occupation" to its present doldrums. Now there's something to think about. SHLOMO GOREN Beit Shemesh State of destruction Sir, - Sam Ser's excellent "Slippery slope to service?" (UpFront, February 29) summed up in a nutshell the basic problem of our Arab cousins, which is total negativity. If their leadership opposes this humane plan, why aren't they setting up their own National Service organization? Where is their equivalent of Yad Sarah, Ezer Mitzion or any of the many Israeli NGOs designed to help the unfortunate? Given complete control of the Gaza Strip, the recipients of the largest per-capita "refugee" payments of any people in the world, rather than build hospitals, schools or other institutions to help their beleaguered population, have constructed many rocket factories, emphasizing their philosophy of destruction rather than construction. And that is why they will never have a viable state. LEONARD DREYER Ra'anana Talking the talk Sir, - Re your letter from Mitchell Barnett (March 4), I too have heard Michael Freeman, head of FZY Israel, speak on a number of occasions. As an British-born oleh of 10 years with over 20 years' experience with Zionist and Jewish youth movements, he has all the qualities to represent the State of Israel abroad. It's about time the truth was articulated in a way befitting our proud nation. For too long our difficult international PR work has been compromised by unintelligible native Israelis placed in positions of responsibility for no other reason than "protektsia." CLIFTON FLACK Modi'in